In the wake of the exposure of Miramax founder Harvey Weinstein’s serial sexual predations, every day seems to bring fresh evidence that men in virtually every industry and sector of society have abused their power over women by harassing them sexually with impunity. With a new awareness, the public is now re-examining cases like that of Juanita Broaddrick, who accused Bill Clinton of having raped her in a hotel room in 1978, when he was Arkansas’s attorney general — and Anita Hill, who famously confronted a panel of skeptical male senators when she came forward with her story of being sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas, subsequently confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. Today, men are finally facing accountability for these abuses — but the long history of harassment and cover-ups has taken a huge toll on women that will not be simple to reverse. Host Jeremy Scahill talks with Intercept Editor-in-Chief Betsy Reed and Katie Baker, a BuzzFeed reporter who broke many important stories on this beat well before the “Weinstein Moment,” about politics, sexual assault, and the messy process of change.
Jeremy Scahill: Katie Baker is an investigative reporter at BuzzFeed News. She’s tenaciously covered this beat for years and Betsy Reed is the editor-in-chief of The Intercept. Welcome, both of you, to Intercepted.
Katie Baker: Thank you for having me.
Betsy Reed: Thanks, Jeremy.
JS: I was trying to think of any kind of historical analogue to what we’re witnessing right now with so many people coming forward and stating what happened to them at the hands of powerful men, whether they’re in Hollywood or media, etc. And there seems like there is, in many of these cases, this immediate sense of there’s going to be accountability right now. The closest thing I can think of is the overthrow of dictatorships or kind of like the Arab Spring where you see this sort of instant reaction, the likes of which I can’t recall another moment in time that would be similar to this. How do you see this moment that we’re in right now, given all of the reporting you’ve done for years on these issues?